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Thursday, April 18, 2013
LSU's ESPN 150 targets

By Gary Laney

How about this for a tailor-made banner recruiting class.

Of LSU's 10 most prominent recruiting targets, eight are from Louisiana and all 10 are in the top 100 of the ESPN 150. The other two? One is already committed to the Tigers and the other, while out of state, lives about 15 minutes from the Louisiana state line.

So yeah, LSU has a chance at a pretty good recruiting class if the Tigers can close the deal on these 10 targets:

Leonard Fournette
Running back Leonard Fournette is the No. 1 prospect in the ESPN 150.
1. RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) 6-foot-1, 232 pounds
(ESPN 150 Rank: 1

Why they want him: Whether or not Cam Cameron opens up LSU's offense, the Tigers will still build around a power running game. And when Louisiana produces a talent like Fournette, there's no way LSU doesn't move mountains to bring him aboard. LSU clearly put its eggs in the Fournette basket by not signing a single RB in the 2012 class.

Who else wants him: Everybody, headlined by Alabama.

Odds they get him: 70 percent. Alabama leads the pack of out-of-state suitors, but we like LSU's chances given its history of using running backs and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson's long relationship with Fournette's family.

2. OT Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) 6-6, 325
ESPN 150 Rank: 7

Why the Want Him: It's not every year  that an offensive lineman ranked as high as Robinson shows up in your home state. The last time Louisiana had an offensive line prospect ranked as high as Robinson, it was current Tiger left tackle La'el Collins. Robinson could be a left tackle of the future for LSU.

Who else wants him: Alabama has been a strong candidate for Robinson's services, leading a list of national schools of interest from Michigan to Oklahoma and Washington.

Odds they get him: 50 percent. Robinson doesn't appear quite the LSU lean some state prospects look like, with Alabama giving the Tigers a close battle.

3. ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) 6-0, 176
(ESPN 150 Rank: 8

Why they want him: Noil is the kind of electric athlete LSU can plug in at so many spots, from wildcat quarterback (he plays quarterback for his high school team) to wide receiver or even in the secondary. Regardless of where he plays (probably receiver), the Tigers will want to secure a premier in-state talent.

Who else wants him: Noil recently named a top four with Texas A&M, Florida and USC joining LSU on his short list.

Odds they get him: 75 percent. Rumored to be a potential quick commit, it looks like Noil will let the process play out, but LSU still looks like a leader.

4. ((S Laurence "Hootie" Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) 6-2, 208
ESPN 150 Rank: 21

Why they want him: In the evolution of safeties, the latest trend has been for safeties who can cover receivers one-on-one to match up against inside receivers in spread option attacks. Jones is the prototype of that mold, a physical hitter who can also cover a slot player. When that rare combination is available in state, it's a must-get for LSU.

Who else wants him: Alabama and Ohio State lead a list of 10 schools other than LSU that are getting serious interest from Jones.

(Odds they get him: 60 percent. Alabama is leading the out-of-state candidates in what is beginning to appear to be a potential two-team battle.

5. ((CB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen)
6-0, 179
(ESPN 150 Rank: 27

Why they want him: With its "DBU" reputation, LSU always feels like it will have a shot at elite defensive backs, and given Brown's proximity to Baton Rouge -- Beaumont is less than a three-hour drive from LSU -- it made perfect sense for the Tigers to target the Texan.

Who else wants him: Alabama, Texas A&M and Texas lead a national list of suitors for Brown, who says he wants to also run track, so first-rate programs at A&M, Texas and LSU all should be considered strong contenders. Notably, his sister is an LSU track commit.

Odds they get him: 70 percent. With his sister committed to LSU, and Brown already having a good relationship with LSU, and with the Tigers' reputation for for developing cornerbacks, the chances are good for the Tigers.

6. WR Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian)
6-2, 185
ESPN 150 Rank: 29

Why they want him: LSU is bringing in a junior college transfer this year to fill a need for a big receiver, and the Tigers don't want to be in that situation going forward. With an elite, big receiver talent like Dupre just an hour from campus, there's no way the Tigers will easily allow him to get away.

Who else wants him: Dupre holds 29 offers, but so far has only visited LSU and UCLA. Alabama and Florida State might also become players in his recruitment.

Odds they get him: 70 percent. Dupre had a huge moment last summer at LSU's summer camp and became a Tigers priority early in the process.

7. DL Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) 6-4, 247
ESPN 150 Rank: 31

Why they want him: Another elite in-state player, Willis would figure to compete well with members of LSU's deep 2012 defensive line recruiting class. In John Chavis' scheme, he can fit either as an athletic tackle, or a big, physical end.

Who else wants him: Willis holds a laundry list of offers, led by Alabama (where his brother, Landon Collins, was a true freshman in 2012), Florida and Texas A&M.

Odds they get him: 40 percent. He might the toughest among the high-end in-state prospects for LSU and, surprisingly, it's not Alabama that presents the biggest challenge. Florida and Texas A&M look like contenders.

8. WR Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) 6-1, 200
ESPN 150 Ranking: 39

Why they want him: When Quinn ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at LSU's camp last summer, it verified to LSU coaches that Quinn's amazing production -- he's on pace to become the all-time leading receiver in the history of high school football -- wasn't the result of simply being a "system" player. He's fast, runs great routes and has the ball skills to be a go-to receiver.

Who else wants him: Quinn has 23 offers and has made recent trips to Ole Miss, Texas and Clemson.

Odds they get him: 75 percent. Quinn's father is an LSU graduate and Quinn grew up an LSU fan. If Quinn likes what he sees in Cameron's offense, LSU will be hard to beat.

9. S Edward Paris (Arlington, Texas/Timberview) 6-1, 195
ESPN 150 Ranking: 53

Why they want him: Like Jones, Paris is a safety who can cover, giving LSU the versatility of using him at corner, where some project him, or as a safety with coverage skills. He's a perfect fit for the versatile direction LSU is headed with its secondary.

Who else wants him: Baylor, Clemson and Florida were among the leaders for his services aside from LSU.

Odds they get him: 99 percent. Paris committed to the Tigers in February and, while it's still possible he decommits at some point, he appears safely in LSU's corner.

10. OG Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory) 6-4, 285
ESPN 150 Ranking: 98

Why they want him: If Robinson is the primary target at tackle, Brumfield is a the perfect fit to line up next to him. Naturally bulky, Brumfield seems like a prototype run blocker in LSU's power running game.

Who else wants him: Brumfield's 16 suitors includes all the major Florida schools, plus Alabama, all of which have drawn interest away from LSU.

Odds they get him: 65 percent. For a while it looked like he might head out of state, but lately there has been buzz that he's become an LSU lean and perhaps a player ready to commit.